For the first time I ate at the dumpling shack on 40th rd between Main and Prince. I've taken the lamb soup and the Sesame pancakes to go a dozen times, but have not had time to sit down and eat. This time I concentrated on the water dumpling(boiled dumpling).
As we were eating elsewhere afterwards, we decided on just getting a small bite as an appetizer. We had to wait a bit for our 16 dumplings(8 for $1.50), but boy was it worth it! The three of us just wolfed them down as we sat at the trough-like long table and bench, in a row, facing the wall, eating from one steaming plate of dumplings. They were hot from the pot, moist and slippery, with perfectly seasoned filling with lots of chive/scallions(?), you barely have to chew as they glided easily down your throat.
Unlike the steamed or the pan-fried dumplings that most restaurant are limited to, eating boiled dumplings is more a home-made affair. The dumpling shack has perfected their formula, it seems. The skin is slightly thicker... but no, wait, you don't analyze it. You don't think, "there's the skin, and there's the filling..." It's more like eating good home-made gnocchi; it's a perfect unit in itself.
It's no good taking them to go, as they will start to stick to each other when they get cold and dried out.(unless you get the frozen ones to cook at home). The dumpling shack don't do potstickers anymore. "who has the time?!" the woman says, as she and a couple of others stand behind the counter busy making dumplings. I have yet to try their siao long tung bao(Steamed juicy buns), or the steamed buns with meat and veggies, but I'll defintely be back for the water dumpling experience soon!
The shack is called Northern Chinese Specialties, but you can't miss it. It's the one closer to Main street direction, while the shack right next door is Southern Chinese specialties, with food from Fouzhou, which was also worthy of a visit(they had great swallow balls, better than any restaruant versions) but they may have changed owners, and I suspect quality may have suffered....Perhaps next trip.